Amidst the ongoing political tussle over the naming of a flyover in Karnataka after the freedom fighter and Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has stoked a controversy by claiming that former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s statue was even greater than social-reformers such as ‘Sharanas’.
In an interview last week, senior Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah spoke to Kannada news channel TV9 regarding various issues including the coronavirus pandemic, Modi government’s response to the crisis, etc.
During the interview, the former CM also spoke about the ongoing political fight between the ruling BJP and the opposition parties over the naming of newly built flyovers in Bengaluru and Mangaluru after nationalist icon Veer Savarkar.
Rejecting the government decision, the former Chief Minister said Veer Savarkar was a controversial figure, who was an accused in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and claimed that the flyovers should not be named after him.
Siddaramaiah also said that the state government should name the flyover after freedom fighters. He said, “Don’t we have 7 Jnanapeeth awardees from the state. Name the flyover in the honour of any one of them. Don’t we have freedom fighters? Name it after them. What is wrong? They are from Karnataka, and they are Kannadigas and they are achievers. Name it after them.”
In a hurry to target the BJP government, the former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who often claims to be championing the cause of Kannadigas, perhaps forgot the basic fact that it is not seven, but eight literary giants from the state have won the prestigious Jnanpith awards for their contribution in the field of literary arts.
Indira Gandhi is above all social reformers
When the anchor questioned about the hypocrisy of the Congress party over naming various schemes, parks, public properties after the Gandhi-Nehru family by ignoring the local leaders, the Congress leader said that there is no comparison between Indira Gandhi and any other leaders like Veer Savarkar.
The anchor also asked the rationale behind naming the government-run canteens after Indira Gandhi and not after social reformers from the state who first initiated such welfare programmes hundreds of years ago. The anchor hinted that why the then Congress government did not name the canteens in the name of social reformers such as Basavannas or any other Sharanas.
To which, Siddaramaiah at around 20:00 mins in the video, shockingly said, “Indira Gandhi was above all of these persons that is why we named canteens after her”.
Karnataka govt decides to name newly built flyover after Veer Savarkar
The Karnataka government has decided to name the newly built flyover at Yelahanka in Bengaluru after nationalist icon – Veer Savarkar.
The 400-metre long flyover, which was constructed under the Nagarotthana scheme at a cost of Rs 34 core, was to be inaugurated by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on May 28, on the day of Savarkar’s birthday. However, it was postponed to a later date.
Similarly, on June 3, a banner that read ‘Veer Savarkar Flyover Pumpwell’ had also surfaced on the sidewall of the newly built Pumpwell flyover in Mangaluru. Reportedly, there is a demand by the locals to name the flyover after the nationalistic icon – Veer Savarkar.
However, the opposition parties in the state – Congress and JD(S) have opposed the BSY-government’s decision to name a flyover after the freedom fighter and Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar, terming it as an insult to freedom fighters of the state.